1. Uncorrupted by evil, malice, or wrongdoing; sinless: an innocent child.
a. Not guilty of a specific crime or offense; legally blameless: was innocent of all charges.
b. Within, allowed by, or sanctioned by the law; lawful.
a. Not dangerous or harmful; innocuous: an innocent prank.
b. Candid; straightforward: a child's innocent stare.
a. Not experienced or worldly; naive.
b. Betraying or suggesting no deception or guile; artless.
a. Not exposed to or familiar with something specified; ignorant: American tourists wholly innocent of French.
b. Unaware: She remained innocent of the complications she had caused.
6. Lacking, deprived, or devoid of something: a novel innocent of literary merit.
1. A person, especially a child, who is free of evil or sin.
2. A simple, guileless, inexperienced, or unsophisticated person.
3. A very young child.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin innocēns, innocent- : in-, not; see IN-1 + nocēns, present participle of nocēre, to harm; see nek-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.